This year, Seattle Arts and Lectures tries something new: a series called “Sherman Alexie Loves.”
SAL is thrilled to introduce a brand new series, Sherman Alexie Loves. In partnership with novelist, poet, and playwright Sherman Alexie, this series will feature three evenings of conversation with authors Alexie loves. The series opens with star of stage and screen Bryan Cranston and his forthcoming memoir A Life In Parts, a coming-of-age story and meditation on creativity and craft. This series will also feature a live taping of Alexie and Jess Walter’s podcast “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment” with Karen Russell and friends. The series will conclude with an exciting evening of new work with three of Alexie’s favorite debut novelists: Patricia Park (Re Jane), Ariel Schrag (ADAM), and Sunil Yapa (Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist).
The series brings to mind other stars and tastemakers who have been given platforms for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise. First in my mind was Walt Disney, with “Disneyland,” “Walt Disney Presents,” and even “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” (What would Sherman make of that show’s title, I wonder?) A generation sampled a wide variety of genres and styles of television programming, guided by Walt’s taste.
Do you know Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” from the 1980s? I think it was my generation’s “The Twilight Zone.” But I think my parents were fine with me watching every week because the often-bizarre episodes were presented by the same man who brought us ET, and it was on television, so it must be OK for kids, right?
I also can’t help but think of Oprah’s Favorite Things and the O List. On her TV show, Oprah did an annual holiday segment where she presented things she loved– and gave them to the joyous studio audience. Oprah enthused about a variety of things, from baked good to digital devices to books. Her recommendations sold out around the country, and back in the day, people would set their VCRs so they wouldn’t miss her selections.
I take note when Sherman Alexie recommends an author, poet, editor, or illustrator. We know he loves bookstores! So I am very excited to learn more about what Sherman Alexie loves through this new SAL series. And if Sherman recommended a pair of slippers or a watch or a doughnut chef along the way, you can bet I’d write those down, too.
Tegan Tigani is a bookseller at Queen Anne Book Company and the editor for nwbooklovers.org.